As we discovered last time in our post on passing on the faith, the foundation of our faith is Christ and the salvation He has purchased for us. It is also called the Gospel, or the Good News.
It is the heart of our faith as Christians. It is why we pray in the name of Jesus. It is why having to take the name of Jesus out of our prayers hits at the very heart of our faith. It makes us unique from other faiths. We believe salvation comes only through Jesus Christ. So yes, we are “narrow-minded” and straight-laced in our beliefs. . .because the Bible teaches that truth. It isn’t because we just came up with this information on our own.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
Sounds pretty exclusive doesn’t it?
There are other truths we want our children to learn as well.
But teaching them in a way they will “get it” is always a challenge. We can teach them words and they can parrot them back to us. But don’t we want them to understand what is being discussed? Don’t we want them to understand more than that the correct answer in Sunday School is more than just “Jesus” or “God”?
If you have more than one child, you will also note that each one learns differently. One child may love to memorize, another may not do well that way at all but wants to discuss topics from real life more often and your help in applying Scripture to real life (without being preachy in style…a big challenge!) can be helpful. Another child can’t sit still but seems to hear what you are saying even if they aren’t apparently listenening OR sitting still. Those kinestenic learners will keep you hopping! But just so you know, they have to move. Find ways to let them move while they learn…even if it is chewing gum!
The only way they can develop is as you, their teacher, are learning in different ways yourself!
Let me offer some resources to you today. It is by no means an exhaustive list. But it can be useful as your child is growing. If you know of helpful resources, please feel free to add them in the comments and tell how they have been helpful and for what age group!
- The Big Picture Story Bible by Helm, David R. This is a great Bible story book for very young children. The illustrations are simple and for those who don’t believe in pictures of Jesus, this book is perfect for you. The pictures are from GOD’s perspective. They look down on Adam and Eve, etc. Very interesting. With a young child, you don’t have to read every story but just look at the pictures and discuss. As they get older, you can read. If you don’t have a feel for the unity of the Bible themes, you will get it from this Bible! If a parent is new to the faith and doesn’t know much about the Bible or stories in the Bible, it takes you all the way through and you will learn them and the themes. I highly recommend it for a father who might know less about christianity than his wife. This would give him a chance to learn as well as take the lead in his family with young children.
- The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name by Lloyd-Jones, Sally and Jago. This is a highly recommended Bible story book that emphasizes the presence of Jesus in each story (Old and New Testament). It chooses representative stories from the Bible. Personally, I think the illustrations would be more attractive to girls, but I think it is a great book content-wise. It comes highly recommended by people I admire. I just didn’t have it to use when my kids were that age! The woman who wrote this book is British, grew up in Africa, and now lives in New York City where she attends Redeemer Presbyterian Church where Tim Kellar pastors. That may be enough recommendation all by itself! This is a great book for late preschool and early elementary. Once they can read, it is great for reading themselves!
- Give Them Grace (Foreword by Tullian Tchividjian): Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Fitzpatrick, Elyse M., Thompson, Jessica. This is a great book for you to read. It is for christian parents to help you discipline you children, not to impress you friends as to how well behaved your kids are, but so they will understand the gospel! So often we either raise our kids so they learn to perform well to make us look good. Or we teach them how to be great hypocrites. This book is a little different and may at times make you feel uncomfortable…but it will be a good kind of uncomfortable and you will struggle with what the gospel is in good ways. I heard these two women speak at a conference seminar. Very thought-provoking! I wish this book had been written 40 years ago! It is a book on teaching your children and discipling them as well.
For now, I’ll leave it at that. There is a lot out there. I don’t want to overwhelm and I just realized that most of our books are packed! What was I thinking? This is going to be added to along the way.